National initiative strengthens the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors to deliver high-quality, equitable, and cost-effective health care services.

Hamilton, NJ, August 17, 2022 – The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that six Medicaid directors — from Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah — have been competitively selected to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI)Since 2009, CHCS has directed this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded initiative, which offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors and their key staff from across the country to enhance the skills and expertise necessary to successfully lead their Medicaid programs, impact key health outcomes, and advance health equity.

“Medicaid directors and their staff have an incredible opportunity to ensure people who use Medicaid can easily access and obtain quality health care and related services,” said Marjorie Paloma, MPH, interim vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Medicaid plays a vital role for those facing some of the greatest social and economic inequities, and our commitment to leadership development for these state officials helps promote innovative thinking to address social and economic factors, engage with communities, and collaborate with public health and community organizations.”

Medicaid directors chosen for the MLI Class of 2023 are:

  • Dawn Stehle, DrPH, Arkansas
  • Jacey Cooper, California
  • Gui Woolston, PhD, Connecticut
  • Juliet Charron, MPH, Idaho
  • Sarah Aker, South Dakota
  • Jennifer Strohecker, PharmD, Utah

This new class of MLI marks the 12th group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. With this new class, 71 directors from 43 Medicaid agencies have participated in the program since 2009. It is directed by Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS, former Vermont Medicaid director, and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.

“Medicaid directors play a critical role in driving positive change across our health care system, including addressing the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and achieving health equity for all,” said Mr. Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of six dedicated Medicaid directors and their teams in leading their programs, which are so important to the well-being of millions of our neighbors in America.”

During the 10-month-long program, fellows gain skills in critical areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, advancing health equity for Medicaid enrollees, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. For more information about MLI, visit

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


The Center for Health Care Strategies is a policy design and implementation partner devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid. We support partners across sectors and disciplines to make more effective, efficient, and equitable care possible for millions of people across the nation. For more information, visit